Girl Talk shows Northern students myriad career possibilities
Fourth- and fifth-grade girls at Northern Elementary took home a pocketful of advice from nearly four dozen successful women who shared their career stories in the first-ever Girl Talk community event. The diverse women chatted with students in small groups after a short keynote from Judge Pamela Goodwine, who encouraged the children to persevere. “Each of you can do and be whatever you want. You are our future,” she told the attentive girls. “Whatever obstacles you face do not define who you are. Dream big! We are here to help you.”
The Girl Talk program was organized by Carolyn Ford, the school’s Family Resource Center coordinator, whose invitation was well-received across Lexington and beyond. Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton also headlined a guest list representing medicine, law, engineering, education, public safety, banking, military, broadcasting, and many more fields. “We are a low-income area school, and I thought it would be nice for the girls to see that they can be anything they want to be. People came from all different types of professions that look like our girls,” Ford said.
The 90-minute event opened with each guest introducing herself with a one- or two-sentence description of her work. Goodwine then shared a bit of her background and the challenges she overcame in her home life, physical health, and educational journey to the judicial bench – which was her goal since age 16. “Yes, the pathway to my dream changed, but ultimately my dream was fulfilled,” she told the girls, urging them to maintain focus.
During the table rotations, fourth-grader Yeira Rosas was drawn to the photographer while classmate Sienna Isreal made sure to speak with a lawyer and a nurse, whose advice resonated: “Never give up. Always study. And do hands-on learning.” Fifth-grader Sophia Collins, who enjoyed meeting a life coach, thought the program was appropriate for their age group. “If you start young in having a mindset about what you want to do later, it might be easier to achieve,” she said.
Helue Shalash, who owns a local hair salon, told of how her path included studying computer science and business. She also credited her parents with instilling a strong work ethic. Shalash wanted the Northern students to understand they have options today. “You don’t have to settle,” she said. “You can be strong and independent and stand on your own. You can pretty much have it all.”
Another guest, Shannon Kidd, agreed that young people can have unlimited opportunities. “Just because there’s an obstacle or challenge, it’s not a barrier to prevent you from being what you want to be,” said Kidd, vice president of operations for the Lexington Legends. She was glad to volunteer her time to participate in Girl Talk, noting, “When they see the different range of women here – body types, skin tones, skill sets – I hope they see themselves in these women.”
Did you know? March is Women’s History Month, and the 2019 national theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.”